It was billed as a Clash of the Titans!!
The irresistible force meeting the immovable object!!
Two unbeaten records pitted against each other; something had to give......and it did, in spectacular fashion!!
The opening exchanges gave nothing away as to how the game would pan out, with seemingly nervy starts from both sides and perhaps a little too much respect being shown.
Just after the 20 minute mark, Crawley Down Drew first blood.
Lewis Croal gaining possession about 20 yards from goal; he drove across the box and let fly with a right-foot shot which was well blocked. Croal picked up the ball and again drove further across the box, unleashing a fierce right-foot drive again, this time it flew cleanly, past the diving keeper and inside the right-hand post.
1-0 (21 mins)
A few minutes later, it was very nearly 2. An advantage played, after a handball by a Tunbridge Wells defender, saw Lewis Croal in on goal again; his shot drew a good save from the keeper and he was the hero again as he saved Ashley Hollom’s follow up shot.
Straight up the other end and Tunbridge Wells were level. A deep ball from the right found their striker unmarked at the back post; he controlled well but scuffed his shot, which wrong footed Tony Jenner on it’s way in.
1-1 (27 mins)
Tony Jenner was the man of the hour for Crawley Down in the closing stages of the first half, producing numerous fine saves to keep Tunbridge Wells from the door; a truly heroic goalkeeping display that ensured the scores were level at the break, despite heavy pressure from the hosts.
It was a completely different, determined Crawley Down that emerged from the changing room in the 2nd half, after what was clearly an inspiring half time talk.
It didn’t take long for the pendulum to swing back our way; Lewis Croal reacting well to a backwards defensive header, challenging superbly in the air to nod on for Ashley Hollom to race away. Hollom outpaced his marker and struck a fierce low drive, across the keeper.
2-1 (51 mins)
Very shortly afterwards, Crawley Down made the game a lot more comfortable.
Michael Parr with a delightful switch out to Danny Grafton on the right; Grafton collecting well and driving along the bye-Line towards goal, before pulling the ball back for Ashley Hollom to smash home his 2nd of the game, off the crossbar.
3-1 (53 mins)
The rest of the game was played out in relative comfort and there only looked like being one winner, as The Anvils asserted their own brand of football and managed the game superbly.
With 12 minutes left on the clock, the game was put beyond all reasonable doubt; Luke Scott driving into space on the right and threading a beauty of a ball through for Ashley Hollom. Hollom’s shot was blocked and the ball was picked up by Lewis Croal; Croal burst past a defender, cut inside the keeper and smashed home his 2nd of the game.
4-1 (78 mins)
The icing was put on the cake for Crawley Down in injury time; Ben Whiteman pressuring and hassling a defender in possession, meaning he could only lay it back to the keeper, who smashed it upfield. Connor Baston met the ball 10 yards inside his own half, with a powerful header that cleared everyone and dropped behind the Tunbridge Wells back line; Ashley Hollom sprung the offside trap and left everybody standing, bearing down on goal until smashing home from 8 yards to complete a well-deserved hat-trick!
5-1 (90+2 mins)
A thoroughly deserved win over a Tunbridge Wells side that were yet to even concede a goal before the Anvils came to town. A real signal of intent for this season and hopefully the bar is set for the level of performance we can expect on a weekly basis, particularly the dominant and confident 2nd half display.
3 games in, still unbeaten and looking to keep all the good habits rolling on into our next game, at home to Redhill.
1. Tony Jenner
2. Aaron Cradock
3. Harrison Casselman
4. Michael Parr
5. Aaron Baston
6. Connor Baston
7. Harry Petty
8. Aaron Ryder (c)
9. Lewis Croal
10. Danny Grafton
11. Ashley Hollom
12. Ben Whiteman (Lewis Croal) 82 mins
14. Jorge Tejera (Danny Grafton) 79 mins
15. Luke Scott (Harry Petty) 76 mins
16. Luke Pearse (Michael Parr) 79 mins
17. Matt Crane
Lewis Croal (21 mins)
Ashley Hollom (Lewis Croal) 51 mins
Ashley Hollom (Danny Grafton) 53 mins
Lewis Croal (Ashley Hollom) 78 mins
Ashley Hollom (Connor Baston) 90+2 mins
Harrison Casselman (44 mins)
Lewis Croal (48 mins)
MAN OF THE MATCH: